So, What is Your Kryptonite?

Today’s personal development post is from Leanne Hoagland-Smith. I love how she uses Kryptonite as a metaphor for all of our weaknesses.  Leanne is a dynamic lady who is my favorite kind of person . . . a disrupter. You’re gonna enjoy this post.


With the most recent release of Man of Steel, I was once again reminded of the old television series Superman and how one tiny pebble of kryptonite could stop the man who was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound dead in his tracks.

Many of us are truly no different than superman. We have extraordinary talents and able to accomplish incredible feats. And we also all have our own kryptonite that stops us dead in our tracks and keeps us from going forward

What stops us is different for each of us. For some it may be negative self-talk and for others it could be time management. Possibly your kryptonite is the lack of emotional intelligence or maybe it is the more common super strong ego that announces your presence before you step into a room.

And we all share the one key to shielding ourselves from the rays of that disabling kryptonite — self-improvement.  Will Rogers understood self-improvement took two different roles: learning through reading and associating with smarter people.  Maybe Rogers read the words of Socrates written over 2,000 years ago:

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”

Rogers recognized as did Socrates that learning through the words of others was a way to associate with smarter people.

Self-improvement begins with an internal belief to be better; to overcome adversity; and to, as many say, unlock or unleash your potential. For today, being a lifelong learner has taken a back seat to being a self-directed learner. The difference is applied knowledge is 100 to 1000 times more powerful than just having knowledge.

Let me share a few personal examples. My husband is a retired engineer and a very good one. Several years before retiring, he decided what he wanted to do during his retirement. He embarked on purchasing the necessary tools; took some classes all in preparation to begin working with wood. His first project was a handmade crib for our first grandchild that has yet to be.  Then he made some hand turned pens along with plates and a beautiful eight sided footed fruit bowl.

The next project was residing our two story Cape Cod home and putting in all new windows. This was accomplished over a period of 18 months as he worked by himself. He removed all the old siding down to the studs; replaced any insulation; hung new stronger sheathing; wrapped the house in vapor wrap and taped all the seams; replaced all windows and then finally hung the vinyl siding.  Everything was done as they say according to Hoyle.

Then our almost 25 year old kitchen cabinets started coming loose from the wall.  So he decided to buy a book, read it and begin to build new kitchen cabinets. We are now in the 6th year of this project even though it feels like more of a sage. When he is finished, our kitchen cabinets will have a value around $15,000 to $20,000.

The reason for these examples is my husband (who is now almost 68 and has been retired for six years)  was not a trained carpenter; a new window and vinyl siding installer; or a cabinet maker.

What he is, is an individual who is continually learning even in his sixties. Self-improvement has always been his superman cape.  Not only has he embarked on building things with his hands, he also continues to expand his mind. Prior to our marriage 22 years ago, my husband taught himself about all the different operas and composers along with many of the classic music compositions.   His knowledge of history is equally as strong.

Early in life my husband recognized his own kryptonite and it was his attitude. For he believed he could do anything provided he wanted to do it. And therein lies the lesson for all of us.

To block or stop the deadly effects of kryptonite we all face begins with our attitudes.  I am not sure if my husband has ever read this quote by Henry Ford, but it pretty sums up how each of us can overcome those roadblocks to our own self-improvement:

Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.


About the Author

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CDT or visit her blog –



Link to Open View Labs